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Dr Qinxue Hu studies early infection mechanisms of mucosally transmitted viruses and emerging viruses, and is developing novel approaches to prevent these processes.

The vast majority of pathogens infect their host across a body surface such as the skin, or across a mucosal tissue such as the vagina, the respiratory tract or intestines.

Dr Qinxue Hu has a long-standing interest in understanding how the sexually-transmitted viruses human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) interact with mucosal surfaces such as the vagina and rectum. He has also expanded his research to human norovirus (HuNoV), the leading cause of gastroenteritis. By using human mucosal explant models and small animal models, he has been examining how viruses break through the host mucosal barrier, and how the host responds to viral infections. The findings are being used in a translational manner to design vaccine and microbicide candidates against mucosally transmitted viruses, initiated by the Hotung China-UK joint research program.

Dr Qinxue Hu is also interested in developing cost-effective vaccines and antivirals against highly-pathogenic emerging or re-emerging viruses in collaboration with the Wuhan National Laboratory of Virology in China, with a focus on accessibility for low- and middle-income countries. One of his study is addressing how arthropod-borne flaviviruses such as tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) cause neuroinflammation, and identifying potential viral targets for intervention. 



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